QPR could be the ones to watch in the Championship
There is almost always a surprise promotion contender in the Championship and the early signs suggest QPR could be in the mix this season.
The Rs have made a strong start and sit just outside the play-off spots in eighth place with 10 points from six games so far, level with Fulham in sixth.
The Loftus Road club had an underwhelming pre-season with three defeats and just one win, against League One Oxford United, but started the campaign with an eye-catching win over Stoke.
QPR have lost twice this season but those defeats came at Bristol City and at home to Swansea. The Robins are fifth and also look like strong contenders for promotion, while the Swans are the early season pacesetters so there is no disgrace in either of those losses – and QPR gave a good account of themselves in both of those matches.
The West Londoners have bounced back since with back-to-back wins over Wigan and Sheffield Wednesday prior to the international break and will be looking to pick up where they left off by downing Luton at home when the Championship resumes.
There were a few notable departures during the summer window and Luke Freeman’s move to Sheffield United did appear to be a big blow, but they recruited well – particularly in defence as the captures of Geoff Cameron, Lee Wallace and Todd Kane look like inspired moves.
The real coup, however, is Jordan Hugill’s arrival on a season-long loan deal from West Ham and if they can keep him firing they stand a real chance to gatecrashing the top six come the end of the campaign.
The 27-year-old failed to sparkle on a temporary deal at Middlesbrough last term with just six Championship goals but has nearly matched that tally this year with five in six outings for the Rs.
Under Steve McClaren, QPR struggled last season and may well have been dragged deeper into the relegation battle had Ipswich Town and Bolton Wanderers not been so poor. The arrival of Mark Warburton has proven to be key and they now have a manager who knows the league and knows how to get the best out of his players.
QPR have a good manager, a solid defensive foundation and in Hugill an in-form forward, and if they can avoid any serious injury issues they stand a real chance of booking a place in the play-offs, at least, come the end of the campaign.